Tuesday, April 21, 2020

In Memoriam

This is a hard post to write (although not entirely for the reasons you might think).  Fi crossed the Rainbow Bridge on Friday the 17th of April.  She was diagnosed with GI lymphoma in late July, and give 3-6 months to live. Being an over-achiever, she lived for almost 9 months, and they were a good 9 months.  She got in a lot of swimming, a lot of walks, and I was able to spend a lot of quality time with Fi.  In her last week she was able to go the Magic Cheeseburger Window, went on walks, and have a great time swimming.  (And while there are a lot of words in this first part, there are tons of photos and even some vintage videos further down!)

While all dogs are special, Fi was particularly special to me.  She was the first puppy I had as an adult (and I had No Idea what I was doing; luckily Fi was patient in training me), and through her, I met people, and had experiences that I never would have imagined.  As you'll notice in the small sample of photos I have of Fi's life, the photo quality got quite a bit better over time; when she and Abby started wrestling in the yard and my little point-and-shoot camera wasn't cutting it, it was time to get a DSLR and learn how to really use it, and really learn about pet photography. In one of the pet photography classes I took the instructor suggested that the students (me and a few others) volunteer time at an animal shelter to hone our skills. Cool. I had a friend at work who was volunteering at Salt Lake County Animal Services and told me they needed a volunteer photographer. I did the volunteer class in 2015 and was on my way, and still volunteer with them to this day (albeit with a hiatus right now because of the pandemic). I work with some amazing people at the shelter, and I love being able to help contribute to making some small part of the universe a little better. All thanks to Fi.

Through this blog I have met a number of Crazy Dog People, some only virtually (but that doesn't make them any less my friends; I don't have to meet someone in person to know that if they love Gilbert & Sullivan operettas and nerd jokes, we are going to be friends) and some in person (Buddy, Goose, Murphy, Stanley, Princess Harlow, even the late Big Carl, to name a few). It is a fantastic community of people, and while many of our original bloggie friends have also crossed the Rainbow Bridge, the friendships still remain.

Buddy the Super Model

I have also met amazing people in my journey with Fi.  Jessi, our first dog trainer, taught me a lot about working with dogs (although I think I failed with Daisy), and Jessi led Fi, and Abby, and me on a bunch of crazy, fun adventures.  We are still friends, even though she abandoned me to move back to Delaware to be with her family (I wish I could use our Star Trek transporter and beam her out for a visit to help me corral Daisy!)  Angela, the lady who started the Dog Dive, is another amazing woman, and was just the thing Fi needed in her more senior years; Fi loved swimming when she was younger, and as a senior she loved being in the pool, going after tennis balls and getting massaged.  Fi's last swim was one with the new crew at the Dog Dive (Angela sold the business to focus on getting prepared for veterinary school), and she loved that swim, too.  I have met so many fellow pet lovers at work, and being able to share Fi with them, and having them share their animals with me, just adds more richness to my life.

Most importantly, Fi always enjoyed life to the fullest, and taught me how to live in the moment. She was my Muse, my confidante, my best friend, my ally against the Crazy Youngsters (aka Daisy and Lucy-Fur), my foot warmer, and my companion. I consider myself extremely lucky to have had her in my life.

The hardest part of this post is not acknowledging her crossing the Bridge (although it's still not easy to accept that she's gone).  The hardest part is trying to figure how to find photos out of the literally thousands of photos I have to celebrate her life.  I still have a gazillion photos to go through for her photo book, but I didn't want to put off this post any longer.

So, a very scattered, not very organized celebration of Fi's life.

A wee Fi, TaiChi, and Bufus.

Fi and TaiChi

Fi investigating the little lardbutt that was Abby, her sister and best friend.

MangoMinster sisters!

In training, or sucking up for snacks...

Crazy Adventures with Jessi!

More Crazy Petco adventures with Jessi!

Frisbee girls!

Fi even tolerated me grooming her for a while!

Fi always enjoyed a good hike!

When we brought Crazy Daisy home, I think Fi was certain we had lost our minds. Daisy was (and still is) a relentlessly crazy puppy, and for the most part, until Lucy-Fur showed up, I think Fi spent a fair amount of time trying to have fun while *not* being the focus of Daisy's demonic attentions!

Not really sure about this Black Demo Dog.
Now certain about the Black Demon Dog; certain we should trade her in!

Back off, little Demon Dog!

Watch and learn, kid.  Or, don't learn. But don't interfere with my frisbee time!

Fi was definitely not impressed with the wee Demon invading her couch.

This was Fi's version of social distancing long before it was necessary!

Fi's only smiling because I had snacks!
Fi really wondered about Daisy...

But with enough snacks, she could tolerate her sister.

And apparently Daisy brought out Fi's levitation powers. 
Daisy also brought out Fi's ninja powers!
However, the Christmas photo probably said it all...

But, when Lucy-Fur came along, Fi was thrilled to no longer be the center of Daisy's attentions. Not only was Lucy-Fur Daisy's newest toy, but Fi discovered that Little Fur shared her love of hiking and Frisbees.

Fi was wildly happy to not be in the middle of this!

Fi did wonder about why she wasn't carried in a backpack when she was that age...

Maybe not a catcher of Frisbees, but a carrier of them!

"Yeah, this sister isn't so bad..."

Fi was even will to share (well, share the couch) her Birthday Pizza!


As much as Fi liked the addition of Lucy-Fur to the family, some of her most favorite times were swimming.  When she was young, she and Abby would go swimming in the local pond.

When we took Fi and Daisy swimming, Fi was all about the swimming again!

And in her later years, she and I discovered the Dog Dive, and Fi re-discovered her joy of swimming!

And I loved getting in the pool with Fi. Sure, the over-underwater photos are fun, but just being in the water with Fi watching her do something she loved was incredible.

This picture just cracks me up! 
And yeah, I love this photo, too.

Obviously, I could continue on and on with photos, but I think I'll save that for her photo book. (A massive photo book, I suspect!)

I will throw in a couple of old videos for those of you like motion pictures.

And because Fi was nothing if not the quintessential Super Model, I will close this post with some portraits of my beloved Super Model.


Always, my love.
And yes, I am so glad I hired a photographer to get some family photos!

Fi told great jokes!
And we had lots of serious conversations.

I'll hold this girl in my heart forever.
*kissey face*
While this blog started with Fi, it will not end with Fi. The youngsters have lots of bitey-face and adventures in their future, and I will continue to share their lives with everyone.  While I'm not 100% certain, I believe Lucy-Fur will be narrating going forward; Daisy gets a little too distracted by, well, everything. But we'll see!

BTW, if you would like to celebrate Fi's life, and are able to do so (I understand times are hard right now, so please do not feel obligated), I encourage you to donate to Salt Lake County Animal Services in Fiona's name (feel free to leave a note in the comments section - everyone in the animal shelter has seen photos of Fi and heard stories of her!).  Every little bit helps, and if they are able to reach their $10,000 goal by May 5th, they will receive a matching grant from the George Q. Morris foundation.

Celebrate Fiona's life with me.  I am sad that she's gone, but I am so glad she came into my life, and expanded my world. Thank you, Fi.

BTW, while AirFiona has headed to the Rainbow Bridge, AirFi, the commuter airline (aka my car) will continue to travel the local routes.

Thank you all for letting me share Fi's life with you.

Best wishes to everyone,

Liz & Gary & Crazy Daisy & Lucy-Fur